Amazing how that one little word “roots” contains implications of so much. I have done a bit of “root digging” and found out some interesting things.

2014 was the 100th anniversary of the First World War. I’ve seen a little bit on TV about it and have watched with interest. My father was in the First World War. I have a copy of his enlistment paper. He joined when he was still very young but there at the bottom is a signature that I so well recognized.

That was a terrible war. Of course all wars are terrible but when they affect your own life you take them a lot more personally. “Don’t say ‘hate’, don’t say ‘kill’,” were rules in our house. “You don’t know the meaning of those words,” Dad would explain.

When I hear the statistics of that war I am overcome by the mercy of God…that He spared my father. Without that mercy, there would have been no Pat, and no siblings. Why did he live? What grand and mighty plan did the Lord have to put the rest of our family on this earth? Whatever, I hope I haven’t failed in His plan for me. He’s so gracious about lifting me up and dusting me off when I mess up.

Of course, that was supposed to be the war to end all wars. And yet, they have gone on and on. I’m not surprised. We can’t seem to reflect God’s glory in our homes, our nations, our churches, or in our world, on an ongoing basis. And yet, the Lord never gives up on us…like a good and gracious Father, he keeps on loving us…if we could just learn to love each other in the same way, the world would be a so much better place.

But it is often mimicked in a small way, in our own lives, when we look at our own loved ones with a faith and patience that knows no end. I am still waiting and praying for certain people in my family to find the Lord. Well, He isn’t lost but maybe they are.

In the little bit of checking in my past I have found Presbyterians and Methodists and now with my grandson, even Catholics. I had an uncle who was a lay preacher and one sister who practices her faith and another who isn’t as verbal about it but lives it day by day.

My father died when I was 15. Only vague memories still remain…his CPR cap that he so often wore…the chair in the corner that he sat in…the scent of his clothes and the moments he would hold out his arms, clasp my hands and let me ride on his foot, singing “Paddy was a Welshman, Paddy was a thief, Paddy came to my house and stole a leg of beef.”

I never knew the soldier, just a gentle man who through God’s grace had been spared during the First World War…and for that I am deeply thankful.


About Patricia Schneider

Patricia Schneider is a proud mother and grandmother living in Alberta. Her articles are posted each Monday and Thursday. You can continue to follow her after December 1, 2016 on her new blog, Reflections by Pat (